At first whiff, Nankai smells faintly grassy, which is common in kokuto shochu owing to how kokuto sugar is made from fresh cut cane and that fresh grassiness is a sign of well made kokuto sugar. Sugar cane is, after all, a tall perennial grass. It is still pretty wild that they can capture that after fermentation and distillation.
Putting your nose in a glass of The SG Shochu Kome shows you just how complex a vacuum distilled rice shochu can be. Ginjo sake aromas from the yeast, pineapple, melon, and a faint hint of dairy-like lactic acidity are all present.
The brilliance of The SG Shochu line is not just their high proof, but that in just 3 products they manage to express the diversity of the shochu category.
Mizu Lemongrass Shochu may not be an authentic honkaku shochu due to the use of lemongrass, but this is a case where a beautiful spirit breaks the rules.
The floods in the Hitoyoshi region are believed to have killed more than 50 people and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. This is deeply personal to us a www.kanpai.us since we count several Hitoyoshi shochu makers as our friends. The damage has spread further over the past week as Kyushu floods continue around the region.
My personal favorite iichiko brand available in the US is iichiko Kurobin. Kurobin is literally translated as "black bottle," which is a pretty on the nose description of this evocative packaging. It is simply too pretty to throw away after finishing.